Education

3 Ways University Students Can Productively Spend Their School Holidays Abroad

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Joanne Poh

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Once upon a time, the glorious 3 month holidays enjoyed by uni students were a time of fun, travel and discovery. These days, uni students seem to all be rushing from one internship to another, intent on getting as many big names onto their resumes as possible.

While nobody can argue that getting some work experience under your belt before you graduate isn’t a good idea, all too often you see interns spending their internships surfing Facebook till 6pm, making it obvious that the only reason for their presence is so they can add another company name to their resume.

If you’ve been interning so much all the men in suits in the CBD already know your name, here are some other ways to spend your next university holiday.

 

Work and Travel USA

If the idea of working at a theme park appeals to you more than paper pushing in some dreary SME office or you just want to leave Singapore and see the world on a dime, consider signing up for the Work and Travel USA programme. So long as you’re enrolled in a course of study at a recognised tertiary institution in Singapore for a course of at least 2 years and are under 30, you qualify.

Most of the jobs involve working in the service line at US theme parks, resorts or national parks. You might be part of the housekeeping team, waitstaff or theme park customer service crew. The wages you’ll receive, which range from 8.40 USD (11.40 SGD) to 10 USD (13.60 SGD) per hour, should be able to pay for your room and board, leaving you with cash left over to save or spend on yourself.

Applications for summer 2016 are closed, but you can still apply for next year’s batch. Click here for more information.

 

Enrol in summer school

So you failed a bunch of modules and now you’re going to have to finish a module or two during the holidays if you want to graduate on time. If spending the long mid-year vacations studying doesn’t appeal to you, what about attending courses at an overseas university instead? Doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? Many unis abroad offer summer school programmes from July to August.

If you take a course that’s related to your course of study and that your university will give you credit for, you can even clear some credits to pave the way for early graduation or at least a very relaxed final semester. If you’ve always envied your classmates who are having a whale of a time studying abroad, you now get to experience the same thing at a fraction of the cost and time.

 

Volunteer abroad

Say what you will about voluntourism, but heading overseas on volunteer stints continues to be popular with tertiary students in Singapore, and it’s easy to see why.

Not only do you get the feel-good rush from doing something charitable (but please research the organisations you plan to help as not all are ethical or effective), you also get to spend an extended period of time in a foreign land.

Joining a CCA like AIESEC or scouting out Youth Expedition Projects that someone in your school is organising are the most obvious ways to find out about overseas volunteer opportunities. YEP organisers usually send out mass emails to all students in a university to recruit volunteers.

There are zillions of volunteer opportunities overseas, but if you don’t want to be surrounded by, ahem, old people or prefer to go with a group of students, check out Habitat for Humanity’s overseas programmes, which give you the chance to start a project with a bunch of other students.

How do you spend your last university holiday? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

  • I must say that the summer school is a great idea.

    I’d like to add here that visiting student is another option. A lot of universities allow students from other universities as visiting students to spend up to a year and then return to their home university to complete their degree.

    How about spending 3 months or maybe 6 months in another university?